In my research I study language in its social context, with a focus on American English — specifically Southern English, Appalachian English, and African American varieties. I examine the role of language in the construction and negotiation of identities and cultures and as a central mechanism in the reproduction of social inequalities. My research addresses some of the most chronic issues that contribute to opportunity gaps in the U.S., particularly in education (for instance, in the acquisition of literacy skills and in student-teacher communication) and in the justice system (for instance, in defendant-judge communication in courtroom situations). My research, as well as my teaching and engagement, reflect my longstanding personal commitment to conduct and apply academic research within a social justice framework.
I have written two books that have been co-authored with Dr. Anne H. Charity Hudley. In 2011, Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools was published in the Teachers College Press Multicultural Education Series (order it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or TCP). In 2014, We Do Language: English Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom, was published, also Teachers College Press (order it through Teachers College Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble).
I am also the co-editor of Data Collection in Sociolinguistics: Methods and Applications, a 2013 Routledge volume, with Becky Childs, and Gerard Van Herk. Learn more about my research here.